Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Basic Painting Tip: Palette Position

Here's the second in a series of brief videos called "Basic Painting Tips." (Link to YouTube).

The idea here is to lift up the painting as close as you can to your view of the subject, with the palette as close as possible to the painting. Both palette and painting should be approximately perpendicular to the line of sight (arrows). It's also important that palette and painting are in the same lighting. If the painting is in shadow and the palette is in full sunlight, judging color mixtures becomes needlessly difficult.

Pochade easels for oil painters, like the Open Box M above, place the palette just below the painting, while other systems such as the Parallel Pallette place it just to the side. With watercolor or runny paint, the palette usually has to be more horizontal. The homemade Lightweight Sketch Easel that I've been using lately uses a hinge system that lets you place the palette at any angle.

These short tip videos are intended for beginning painters, but I hope they will interest experienced painters, too. The idea is to grab an excerpt from my longer videos that can serve both as a stand-alone information piece and a teaser for my longer content, which covers both beginning and advanced material.

Future videos will include things like:
• Palette Arrangements (how the colors can be placed)
• Diffusers
• Brush materials
• Brush shapes
• Oil priming
• Overlapping edges
• Drying time
• Shadow colors
• Using enough paint
• Area by area
• Loose block-in
• Brush cleaning
• Brush storage
• Color isolators
• Unifying glazes

• Eye level
• Viewfinders
• Measuring lengths
• Measuring slopes
• Ellipses

Is there a topic you would like to see covered in a future video? Teachers, are there reminders that would help your students? Please let me know in the comments.
On topic of palette position, you might also check out my previous blog posts:
• Using a sketchbook easel vertically
• Plein-air tip: Go vertical
PAINTING TIP #1: Large to Small)
Full video "Fantasy in the Wild" available in two forms:
Digital download from Gumroad (HD MP4)
DVD (NTSC Region 1)


gyrusdentus said...

Great idea and nice video.

What would be of interest to me as a teacher (drawing and basic painting classes) is your attitude towards block-ins in terms of intensity and tone.
If and how you manage to economically advance from block-ins to final layers, making use of the initial layers in the process.

Happy Christmas to everybody if i forgot to look at the blog tomorrow.

Glenn Tait said...

Ideally, as you talked about in Gouache in the Wild when painting the Brownie figures, your subject, palette and painting should be in the same light. When using a diffuser, umbrella or working in the shade with a sunlit subject how do you judge your colours? Also, when you did the liquor store sign you went from working in the shade to full sunlight, how did you compensate in that situation? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm a beginner watercolor painter so I really appreciate your simple practical tips.

I'd love an discussion on edges. Often people talk about soft edges, lost and found edges etc. which can be confusing for newbies. What to look for in your subject with regards to edges and techniques to achieve different edges.

I think this is useful topic, especially for people moving from pen and pencil to paint.

Stephen Berry said...

The link you provided only seems to have info on gouache setups. Do you have any links to your setup for watercolor, and do you alter your advice for watercolorists? I ask because Ive seen your setup on your notebook, but that's very different from your tripod gouache setup. I use a tripod for watercolors, but keep my palette down below on a horizontal shelf. I would be interested to see how you keep yours. I like the idea of my palette being closer to my painting, but haven't figured out a good solution yet for that. Thanks!